Obama’s Moment of Truth-Are We Ready to Support or Oppose Him?


As the Thanksgiving holiday ends, the nation is perched to hear what is being described as President Obama‘s most important speech to date. He will stand before Army cadets at West Point military academy and lay out his plans for increasing troops to Afghanistan to the tune of 30 thousand. He is likely to note that we must go to Afghanistan to defeat a grouped Taliban. He is likely to say we must go to Afghanistan to ‘finish the job’ of subduing Al Qaeda and capturing Osama Bin Laden. Obama is also likely to note that throughout his campaign he had promised that he would withdraw troops from Iraq and direct all attention to America’s ‘forgotten war’ in Afghanistan.

However 8 years after we first entered Afghanistan in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks, many of the folks who enthusiastically voted for Obama are divided and troubled. Many of the people who came out and voted for Obama were the same people eager for change who had organized or showed up at large anti-war demonstrations when George Bush was in office. They’re looking at a man who was just awarded the Noble Peace Prize and saw this as a symbolic gesture that would give him a good excuse to find a more diplomatic approach to resolving the conflict and abandon the pro-war position they felt he had to take during the 08 campaign.

If folks recall during the 08 campaign Obama was saw his momentum halted when than rival Hillary Clinton sprung the infamous ‘Its 3am Who Do You want answering Phone commercial‘. Inexperience and too weak to stomach the hard decisions around war and conflict is what Obama was slimed with. His response was to come across as more hawkish. After all, it was the ‘weak on terror’ allegations that helped George Bush win his last election and push through all types of legislation and policies that gave him and the military lots of resources, leeway and power. Obama in his response not only promised to bring the war back to Afghanistan, but he even asserted that he would be willing to bomb a country without warning if it meant the US could get the ever so elusive Osama.

While many who voted for Obama understood him taking pro-war stances, what’s troubling is that with a democratic majorities in both the house and Senate and recent polls showing that majority of Americans not wanting us to continue in Afghanistan, why are building up troops? Is the country really in grave danger? Is this about saving face? Is this about political appeasement? According to recent USA Today Gallup Poll numbers 57% of Democrats want Obama to withdraw. Those numbers are being underscored by the recent bill introduced by an early supporter California Congresswoman Barbara Lee who introduced a bill H.R. 3699 that would prohibit funds for any escalation to Afghanistan. Estimates note that it would cost on average 1 million dollars per year per soldier in this new troop surge. Lee thus far has gotten 23 co-sponsors including former Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and Houston congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee who earlier last week bestowed a Purple Heart and Bronze star on a Vietnam Vet who still suffers from Post Traumatic stress.

Standing in stark opposition of this are 72% of republicans want Obama to build up the troops and follow the recommendations of General Stanley McChrystal who actually requested and then ‘campaigned’ to get 40 thousand. That republican support or agitation has been amplified by right-wing pundits and talk show hosts who feel that America should be in Afghanistan kicking ass even though everyone from Genghis Khan to the Soviet Union has failed miserably in their attempts to tame this unconquered region.

Perhaps President Obama should challenge those who are eager for this fight to continue in Afghanistan, to stop eating the drums of war and step it up and volunteer their time. That would include talk show hosts like Sean Hannity who are quick to talk this talk but won’t volunteer his time to serve..even as a radio host ala actor Robin Williams in the movie Good Morning Vietnam. At the same time President Obama should let those opposed to the troop build up to not let up the pressure. They should call their representatives and get them to co-sponsor Barbara Lee’s bill.

Lastly Obama should re-emphasize one of his most important campaign points about this his Presidency being for the people by the people-hence all this crazy talk about Obama being in office for only one year and we should give him some time needs to cease once and for all. In matters of war every citizen should be weighing in. After all, what takes place in Afghanistan is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. People should also be reminded that george Bush was only in office for 9 months before he was faced with the 9-11 tragedy and declared his War on Terror. President Obama has been in office for 11 months. His presidency is in full swing.

It’s sad state of affairs, but the War in Afghanistan appears to be war of political posturing and not about war to end terror. How it all unfolds will have a lot to do with the political pressure applied to the President.

-Davey D-

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Trae Day community celebration ruined by driveby shooting at Texas Southern



DaveyD-leather-225By now everyone has heard about the unfortunate situation that went down Wednesday night on the Texas Southern University campus during a huge community event called ‘Trae Day’which was a day long celebration meant to honor popular Houston rapper Trae the Truth and  give out free school supplies. According to police reports, 6 people were injured in a drive by shooting as things were winding down. 

  Houston police were quick to point out the the shooting stemmed from rival gangs that reside in cities outside of Houston. For many in attendance, it was a huge black eye for organizers and participants who wanted to put forth the community activism  and political maturing of Trae as well as many of the artists on the bill like Bun B who was scheduled to perform. The host of the event was Houston City Councilman Peter Brown who is campaigning for mayor and scheduled to attend was Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

This incident is one that is certain to evoke skepticism in the minds of some politicos who are wondering if engaging the Hip hop community is a liability. This unfortunately happens even if the artists themselves had nothing to do with the drama. In this case,  Trae had already left the event when the shootings took place. But his name will be associated with what went down as more than a few pundits will gleefully try to connect the dots and conclude that rappers + large crowd=violence.  

 Was it because of the number of people shot? Well  two days ago in Newark, New Jersey 5 people got shot and there was no national coverage. There was a shooting in Jersey City where 4 officers were shot and that didn’t make national news. It wasn’t talked about on the Bay Area stations nor any of the stations in Texas. 
Houston city council member Peter Brown hosted the Trae Day event. he is currently running for Mayor. Him and Trae collected school supplies for needy kids to offset the recession and budget cuts.

Houston city council member Peter Brown hosted the Trae Day event. he is currently running for Mayor. Him and Trae collected school supplies for needy kids to offset the recession and budget cuts.

What i find even more disturbing is how this incident has made national news. It was one of the top stories on the news here in the Bay Area. They reported that story but not the flare up between the Neo nazis and KKK in Paris, Texas-why? I was watching the local news stations in New York City this morning and again this was a top story…Again no mention of the Paris, Texas incident-why?

 Here in Richmond, California there was a multiperson shooting involving 4 or 5 people and it barely made the newspaper-so why did Trae who is relatively unknown outside of mainstream circles suddenly become a household name?

When I saw the coverage in NY they made sure to mention it was a Get Out to Vote event.. They didn’t make mention that it was an event that collected school supplies for people in need… Why was this not mentioned?  AP and other major news agencies covered this story and I think it was only one local outlet that talked about the school supplies Trae and City Council Peter Brown who is running from mayor collected. 

Lastly there were national acts on that bill, Rick Ross and Bun B they were never mentioned.. News coverage is always by design and not by coincidence. I think the game plan was to discredit an event that was doing exactly what we complain ‘street oriented rappers aren’t doing.. organizing and politicizing their fans and the communities they come from..

Trae the Truth is one of Houston's most popular rappers. He was being honored at TSU for his community work

Trae the Truth is one of Houston's most popular rappers. He was being honored at TSU for his community work

The usual tact after a shooting incident is to gather a bunch of pundits around and start examining the lyrics of rap songs and critique the style of dress. And while I’ll be the first to admit there’s always a time and place for such discussions, whats at stake right now is dealing with the larger underlying issues that lead to bad behavior, bad choices and nihilistic attitudes. This could include poverty, poor schools, bad housing and  lack of health resources to name a few. The solutions to many of these ills are likely to come in the forms of a legislative or political decision where resources are allocated and laws are passed allowing one to obtain some sort of relief. Hence its good that Peter brown and Sheila Jackson were on hand. Its good that people came together and tried to make community activism and political education accessible to people normally left out of the process.

In anycase props to Trae for his work. Props to those who showed up to be inspired and get their polical and community grind going. Lets hope that we can all come together to resolve the causes leading up to last nights shooting at TSU. 

The way we have to look at this is that in many corners of society where people are marginalized and communities are undeserved the best way to lessen the chances of incidents like this occurring is to address the underlying issues that lead to violence. In other words community events like Trae Day are not only needed but should be seen as crucial steps in our attempts to move society forward.  

 Something to Ponder

-Davey D-


6 shot, wounded in drive-by at Texas Southern



HOUSTON — A drive-by shooting at a community rally on the Texas Southern University campus Wednesday night left six people wounded, a school spokeswoman said. Police believe the incident was gang-related.

One male student was among the six people who were shot and treated for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, TSU spokeswoman Eva Pickens said.

Witnesses told police that one car drove by and opened fire on the parking lot where a popular Houston rapper was promoting community service and voter registration, Pickens said.

Peter Role, a local music promoter, told the Houston Chronicle he heard what sounded “like the Fourth of July.”

“We heard some gunshots and everybody was hitting the ground,” Role said.

Campus police believe the incident resulted from a rivalry between two gangs, one from Missouri City, a suburb southwest of Houston, and the other from Fresno, a small town outside Missouri City, she said.

Among the rally participants was Houston City Councilman Peter Brown, who is running for mayor in November’s election.

Lucinda Guinn, who manages Brown’s mayoral campaign, said the rally — billed as a “family block party” — included a concert by rapper Trae the Truth and featured participants such as Brown and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Guinn said she had no details on the shootings, but was dismayed that “an effort for bringing a very positive message to the community” would end in violence.

Nancy Byron, Trae’s publicist, told the Chronicle that the rapper already had left the event at 8:30 p.m. or 8:45 p.m. and did not see the shooting.

“We’re very depressed about it and we feel like its a black eye on an otherwise very community-driven event,” Byron said.

An e-mail sent to Lee wasn’t immediately returned. Her telephone mailbox was full and wouldn’t take messages.

Texas Southern is a historically black university in Houston with an enrollment approaching 10,000 students.

Associated Press Writer Terry Wallace contributed to this report from Dallas.

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